Aaron Driver, a 24-year-old man from Winnipeg suspected of planning a suicide bombing, died in an operation carried out by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on Thursday.
The RCMP raided Driver’s home in Strathroy after U.S. anti-terrorism authorities reported that he had recorded a “martyrdom video” and had planned to carry out an attack on rush hour using a homemade bomb. At 8:30 a.m. authorities were alerted of a masked man’s intentions to carry out a suicide bombing. At 11 a.m. police had identified the suspect and proceeded to apprehend him. Driver reportedly planned the attack in only 72 hours.
ISIS reaches Canada
Driver was confronted by police when he was entering a taxi, with a backpack on his hands. As the mounted police approached, Driver activated the explosive device. He died in the process and injured the driver. The latter is currently at home, according to his employer Leo’s taxi.
The attack symbolizes the first major ISIS-related incident on Canadian soil. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently defended Canada’s withdrawal of any combat-oriented mission. He said the country would only focus on training soldiers.
The event serves as evidence of the cooperation held by the U.S. and Canada on matters of anti-terrorism and law enforcement. Both countries were able to stop the ‘lone wolf’ before he conducted a bombing.
The danger of ‘lone wolf’ attacks
Aaron was arrested last year amid an investigation developed in Winnipeg. After that event, the FBI identified him as a terrorist threat and started monitoring him.
Driver was later commissioned under a peace bond to report to police twice a month and to live with his sister in Strathroy, where the incident occurred. He was given a tracking bracelet but it was rescinded by a local courthouse.
The tipping point that led authorities to stop him was the video he had recorded. He appeared pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, while wearing a black balaclava. The video also revealed his plans of detonating an explosive device on Thursday before noon.
“There is a fire beating in the chest of every Muslim, and this fire can only be cooled by the spilling of blood,” Aaron Driver stated in the video.
“He was a very well-mannered person, very nice, very kind and humorous guy. When I saw, it was shocking, but at the same time I wasn’t surprised,” stated Ahmed Chams, a 26-year-old nonpracticing Muslim living in London who met Driver in 2012.
Chams and Driver spoke frequently through Facebook but lost contact before Driver’s first appearance in the news in 2015. He suggested that the outcome would have ended differently if he would have been there for Driver before he planned the attack.
Source: CBC News